Your community is a rich source of data about your customers and prospects. Conversations in the community can reveal insightful data on frequent issues, popular features and most desirable improvements to your products and services (See also Post Field Analysis
). The community is also the perfect source of product and process testers. This is because, on the one hand, Super Users often display high levels of technical knowledge about a company's products and services. On the other, regular users can be seen as a representative sample of customers, who will therefore use a product as a typical customer would.
Your product and development team can select testers based on their role in the community, therefore ensuring that they have the required knowledge on products, belong to the right demographics or are loyal customers, all of which ensure that testers remain engaged throughout the different phases of testing.
Product and development teams can therefore conduct different types of product testing and reviews, saving on search and selection processes, among other costs. Counting with expert testers means also that internal teams can count with the benefits of using external knowledge as part of their innovation process flows. In this sense your community is consistent with an Open innovation approach, where the smart use of external knowledge can help companies increase their rate of innovation. External knowledge helps companies avoid the limitations of traditionally closed innovation silos, by infusing fresh knowledge into the development processes, which will result in new and improved products.